Lessons From Koko Black
News earlier this month that deliciously deluxe chocolate retailer, Koko Black had gone into voluntary administration was a little bit disconcerting. What if we end up with a deficit of really decent chocolate?!
More than that, however, it can be a little scary when a well-known and successful business goes belly up. We can’t help but think about our own small business and wonder how we’ll survive if someone like Koko Black can’t.
There are some valuable lessons in this occurrence, however.
First and foremost, it’s important to stop the catastrophising and dramatics and realise that Koko Black and their administrators are doing what they can to keep going. Koko Black made some judgemental errors in the past and now they are trying to rectify them.
It’s easy to throw your hands up and give up. It’s more beneficial to learn from failures, to recognise what has gone wrong, face up to it and do something about it. Shiny objects – and not decadent chocolate! – appears to be their downfall.
In statements made to the media, they explicitly stated that “The business expanded very rapidly and undertook a series of major projects over the past 18 months. In combination, the level of activity was beyond the resources of the business.”
Essentially, they bit off more than they could chew. While there is a lot of merit in stepping out of your comfort zone, taking on more than you are physically and resourcefully capable of doing can lead to your downfall. There may well be a very fine line between a bit more and too much, and this is something you may need to learn the hard way.
You can, of course, also sit down and carefully work through everything. Write down costs in terms of time and money, and the benefits of your plans. Always review your idea with someone who is more than happy to play devil’s advocate and throw some worst case scenarios and what ifs your way.
It can be a little depressing having someone shoot holes in your ideas and dreams, but it is worth the effort to work out how to prevent the holes from occurring before you need to fix them or sink! In short, plan and prepare, be realistic about what you can achieve, while not playing it too safe.
Learn from your mistakes, and more than that, acknowledge where you went wrong and accept responsibility for it.
Never give up. Once you planned, prepared, learnt and accepted, you can make headway in getting yourself back on the right track.
Finally, the biggest lesson of all is asking for help where you need it. Not just a devil’s advocate, but other advocates who can help spread the word about your business, and people who can provide you with the resources you may need.